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Defense chiefs Japan and China meet to discuss ‘many concerns’; First meeting between current leaders

Defense chiefs Japan and China meet to discuss ‘many concerns’; First meeting between current leaders


Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, left, shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart, Dong Jun, ahead of their bilateral talks in Singapore on Saturday.

SINGAPORE – Defense Minister Minoru Kihara met with his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun on Saturday to discuss issues such as the Senkaku Islands on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore.

This was the first bilateral meeting between Kihara and Dong, who took up his current position in December last year. The previous meeting between the Japanese and Chinese defense ministers took place in June last year, also on the sidelines of the same security meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, Kihara said: “There are many security concerns between Japan and China, such as the situation in the East China Sea, including the Senkaku Islands, and the increased activity of the Chinese military in the sea and airspace around Japan. ”

“It is important to have frank discussions between the Japanese and Chinese defense authorities precisely because many security concerns exist between the two countries,” he added.

Dong said: “We want to find ways to build the relationship between China and Japan in a constructive and stable manner.”

China held a large-scale military exercise around Taiwan from May 23 to 24. Kihara stressed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

In Taiwan, President Lai Ching-te’s government was launched last month. Because Beijing has adopted a Japan-oriented stance, it is wary of Taipei strengthening ties with Tokyo.

A hotline between the defense authorities of Japan and China has been active since May last year to prevent accidental clashes. Kihara and Dong reaffirmed that the hotline will be managed appropriately and shared the importance of continued dialogue between the two countries.

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